Tonight is the unofficial start of Christmas in Ireland. The Late Late Toy Show is on! For those who don't know what the Late Late Show is, it's a chat show on the Irish television RTE, which has been running since 1962. Irish folklore says that its the longest running chat show in the world, though in my opinion it actually ceased to be The Late Late Show in 1999 when Gay Byrne retired and Pat Kenny took over.
Once a year, for as long as I can remember, and probably for years before, they have had a special show dedicated to toys and Christmas. As kids we were allowed stay up to watch the show and see all the new toys and Christmas acts. Maybe that was where my love of gadgets started. In between toys, bikes, lego, remote controlled cars, books, board games, and anything else Santa will be able to pack into his sleigh on Christmas Eve, there was The Billy Barry Kids singing pieces from Bugsy Malone (shudder), choirs from local churches singing Christmas carols and Irish classical singers performing seasonal favorites As Gaeilge.
When Gay was in charge it was like a old grandfather with his grandchildren, Pat is more like an uncomfortable uncle who doesn't really like or understand children. Still its a nice piece of tradition and for many people, both young and old, its the only episode of The Late Late Show that they will admit to watching.